The former Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will support Eric Holder’s nomination for attorney general, giving him a major boost toward confirmation.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), who chaired the panel for a decade beginning in 1995, told The Hill that he will support Holder.
Hatch said that Republicans should try to strike a cooperative tone with President-elect Obama during the first days of his administration.
“I start with the premise that the president deserves the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think politics should be played with the attorney general,” he said.
“I like Barack Obama and want to help him if I can.”
You’d think that, with only 41 Republican Senators, it would be pretty easy for the GOP to maintain some semblance of party unity.
But there’s no need to fear, Republicans. I’m sure Senator Specter will continue his principled stand in favor of the thorough vetting of nominees–
Hey, what’s this?
On December 24, 2000, two days after then President-elect Bush announced that he had selected John Ashcroft for Attorney General and three weeks before Ashcroft’s confirmation hearings, Specter went on Face the Nation and confidently predicted that Ashcroft would be confirmed by the Senate:
SCHEIFFER: Senator Specter, you’re on the Judiciary Committee. Can John Ashcroft be confirmed?
SPECTER: Yes, I think he can be, and will be. I think the president is entitled to great latitude in the selection of his Cabinet officers. And I know John Ashcroft very well. He’s a first-rate lawyer. He was attorney general of Missouri.
Well, that could easily have been taken out of context–
A day before Ashcoft’s hearings began on January 16, 2001, Specter told a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “I’ve said publicly that unless something comes up which is extraordinary, that I do intend to vote for him.”
Similarly, on January 17, 2001, Wolf Blitzer asked Specter, “you have made up your mind, basically, already, haven’t you?” Specter responded, “I have said that unless something unusual happens, I will support John Ashcroft.”
[All emphasis mine]
And let’s not forget that–five years later–Specter, then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, shepherded Alberto Gonzales though his nomination process despite the fact that Gonzales was a longtime Bush crony and had no independence whatsoever from the President.
Arlen Specter’s opposition to Eric Holder–and all of the GOP’s bluster on his nomination–are perfect examples of pure partisan hackery. I’m glad at least some decent Republicans like Orrin Hatch can see it for what it is and won’t take part in it.
There is simply no way you can compare the GOP’s behavior on Holder, Ashcroft and Gonzales and not see huge, glaring contradictions between how they treated Bush’s appointees and how they plan on treating Obama’s.
Something tells me that leveling naked partisanship and hypocrisy toward an extremely popular President-elect won’t help the Republicans find their way back to the majority anytime soon.
This isn’t GOP 2.0. This isn’t even GOP 1.0. This is GOP beta–sloppy, disorganized, hypocritical and completely out of touch.